Improving soil health in the Upper Wharfe

01 October 2018 - Published by Alistair Maltby
Unfortunately, many of our soils are not as healthy as they could be.

One big issue is the compaction of our soil, this is where soils have been squashed due to machinery or livestock treading down on the soil. This compaction limits water infiltration, reducing the ability for crops to grow and increases the chances of soil erosion and surface run-off. 

As part of their WaterCoG pilot project, Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust measured 900 points for soil compaction throughout upper Wharfedale. This study helped to identify the issues in the catchment and helps to target improvements. The work is being carried out by Emily Brown, an MSc student from Nottingham University. 

why is soil important?

Soil is fundamental to support both agricultural production and the provision of other environmental benefits. 

How to reduce soil compaction? 

There are several ways to reduce soil compaction. It can sometimes be as simple as changing existing practices that cause compaction. Yorkshire Rivers Trust are also look using machinery that helps to break up and aerate the soils.

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The above illustration shows the soil compaction survey in the Upper Wharfe Catchment - the darker the colour, the more compacted the soil is. 

To find out more visit: http://www.yorkshiredalesriverstrust.com/natural-flood-management/